Fatal Car Crashes Demonstrate the Importance of Seat belts

By September 26, 2007Traffic Safety

Car crashes in Missouri and Illinois are common. Cars are designed to protect you if you are wearing a seat belt. You hear it all the time, wear your seat belt and your chances of surviving a crash are much higher. In fact, statistics show you have a 60 percent chance of making it out of an accident alive if you buckle up.
But this weekend alone three people died on roads in southeast Missouri and police say they were not wearing seat belts. Five people who died in Kentucky last week also did not have their seat belts on. Emergency responders say they see a lot of gruesome sights at deadly accidents where people didn’t buckle up, so they always tell their loved ones not to leave their driveway without buckling up first.
“When they’re not restrained they’re a little more bloodier, there are more injuries,” Paramedic Meg Cooper said. She became an emergency responder, working at Cape County Private Ambulance, to help save lives. But she says it’s often too late when people don’t take the time to buckle up.
“A lot of times people are ejected through a window. In a rollover, there can be partial ejection, where the vehicle rolls on top of them. If you’re fully ejected, you run the risk of the vehicle following you or running over,” Cooper said.
All that’s left of 38-year-old Gilbert Marler’s truck is a mass of crumpled metal. Police say he lost control of the truck and overturned on a Stoddard County road on Sunday. Investigators say the impact tossed Marler out into a field. Marler died and he was not wearing a seat belt.
“It still surprises me that people don’t wear seat belts and they think nothing is going to happen to them,” said Lt. John Davis with the Cape Girardeau Police Department. He reconstructed accidents for many years.
“Anytime you’re behind the wheel of a car, your body’s in motion too. If your car stops suddenly, your body continues on at the same speed, and if you’re unrestrained, then you’re going to hit the steering wheel, the dash or the windshield,” he said.
That’s the kind of logic emergency crews hope you take into account when you get behind a wheel. Something else to think about, the only survivor from this weekend’s deadly crashes in Southeast Missouri had her seat belt on.